HomeWORLDWorld Health Organization warns against AI misuse in public healthcare, advises caution

World Health Organization warns against AI misuse in public healthcare, advises caution

AI misuse: World’s biggest public health agency, the World Health Organization (WHO) has cautioned against using artificial intelligence (AI) for public healthcare. It said on Tuesday that the data used by AI to reach decisions could be biased or misused and advised caution while using the technology.

According to the WHO, risks must be examined carefully before using AI-generated large language model tools (LLMs) like “ChatGPT, Bard, Bert and many others” to protect and promote human well-being and protect public health.

The health agency said that while it was enthusiastic about the potential AI holds, it has concerns over how the technology will be used.

It said, “There is concern that caution that would normally be exercised for any new technology is not being exercised consistently with LLMs.”

“This includes widespread adherence to key values of transparency, inclusion, public engagement, expert supervision, and rigorous evaluation.”

Errors could harm patients

According to the WHO, the “precipitous” adoption of untested AI systems could lead to errors by healthcare workers. This, it warned, could “cause harm to patients, erode trust in AI and thereby undermine (or delay) the potential long-term benefits and uses of such technologies around the world.”

It further cautioned that artificial intelligence LLMs like ChatGPT and Bard that imitate understanding, processing, and producing human communication could be misused to “generate and disseminate highly convincing disinformation”.

This disinformation, as per the WHO, can be in textual, audio or video form and would be difficult to differentiate from reliable health content for the public.

Six core principles

It stressed  the importance of applying ethical principles and appropriate governance and specified six core principles as imperative while using AI in healthcare. These are: protect autonomy; promote human well-being, human safety, and the public interest; ensure transparency, explainability, and intelligibility; foster responsibility and accountability; ensure inclusiveness and equity; promote AI that is responsive and sustainable.

The health agency said that while it is committing to harnessing new technologies, including AI and digital health, towards the improvement of human health, it recommends that policymakers must ensure patient safety and protection.

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